Genome-Wide Profiling of RNA from Dried Blood Spots: Convergence with Bioinformatic Results Derived from Whole Venous Blood and Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells

Thomas McDade*, Kharah M. Ross, Ruby L. Fried, Jesusa M.G. Arevalo, Jeffrey Ma, Greg Miller, Steve W. Cole

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations

Abstract

Genome-wide transcriptional profiling has emerged as a powerful tool for analyzing biological mechanisms underlying social gradients in health, but utilization in population-based studies has been hampered by logistical constraints and costs associated with venipuncture blood sampling. Dried blood spots (DBS) provide a minimally invasive, low-cost alternative to venipuncture, and in this article we evaluate how closely the substantive results from DBS transcriptional profiling correspond to those derived from parallel analyses of gold-standard venous blood samples (PAXgene whole blood and peripheral blood mononuclear cells [PBMC]). Analyses focused on differences in gene expression between African-Americans and Caucasians in a community sample of 82 healthy adults (age 18–70 years; mean 35). Across 19,679 named gene transcripts, DBS-derived values correlated r = .85 with both PAXgene and PBMC values. Results from bioinformatics analyses of gene expression derived from DBS samples were concordant with PAXgene and PBMC samples in identifying increased Type I interferon signaling and up-regulated activity of monocytes and natural killer (NK) cells in African-Americans compared to Caucasian participants. These findings demonstrate the feasibility of DBS in field-based studies of gene expression and encourage future studies of human transcriptome dynamics in larger, more representative samples than are possible with clinic- or lab-based research designs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)182-197
Number of pages16
JournalBiodemography and Social Biology
Volume62
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - May 3 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Anthropology
  • Genetics

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